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Deer poaching investigated in Woodbury

WOODBURY, Minn. -- State conservation officers are investigating a report that two trophy bucks were poached inside a private, wooded area in Woodbury.

A tipster found the carcass of one deer on Nov. 7 and the second felled buck on Nov. 8 on private hunting grounds located on Weir Drive north of Tamarack Road. The discovery came after witnesses found a man walking through the area on Nov. 6 without permission.

According to a Woodbury police report, a Woodbury woman familiar with the property spotted a strange vehicle parked near a spot in the area where a hunting stand had been stolen weeks earlier.

After seeing the vehicle contained hunting clothes, the complainant called the landowner, who confirmed that the vehicle – registered to a St. Paul man – did not have permission to be on the land.

The driver emerged from the woods and pointed out a tree stand he had seen. Police spoke with the St. Paul man, who claimed to have seen a camouflage-clad male hunting in a tree stand. He told the officer that he came out of the woods to inform the property owner of the encounter.

The property owner denied knowing the St. Paul man or why he was on the land.

The St. Paul man claimed he was there in search of deer antler sheds.

An officer went out to the hunting stand, where hunting equipment, including a bow, was located. Other equipment at the deserted stand included a saw, a knife, a range finder and bottle of deer urine. Another deer stand was also located in the woods and was confiscated.

The next day, the original complainant reported finding a buck in the Weir Drive woods that appeared to have been killed by an arrow. A day later, a second trophy-class buck was found on the property – also felled by an apparent arrow shot.

Department of Natural Resources Capt. Greg Salo said there is a suspect in the case who has been questioned, but charges have not yet been filed.

The case remains under investigation.

“It’s not dead in our books yet,” Salo said.

He said poaching reports aren’t unusual for Woodbury. The department usually fields at least two poaching complaints each year from Woodbury, Salo said.

In fact, he said the Twin Cities metro area sees the highest level of poaching in the state.

“Our metro officers stay very busy during deer season,” Salo said.

Heavy regulation on hunting in the metro provides something of a sanctuary for deer to thrive, he said. That makes for some very large bucks roaming the area.

“It really tempts a person,” Salo said.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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